Country or Family?

Simone Holcomb and her husband of three years, Vaughn Holcomb, also a soldier, were both sent to Iraq early this year. The children’s paternal grandmother came from Ohio to look after them.

But while the Holcombs were absent, Vaughn’s ex-wife filed for child support and was threatening to seek full custody of two of the Holcombs’ seven children, who range in age from 4 to 12.

The legal action forced the Holcombs to return here on emergency leave in September. A judge in a custodial hearing mandated that one of the parents must stay home to look after the children in order for Vaughn to retain full custody of the two.

“I was told by the Army … to get on a plane,” Simone said Saturday night. “I even told them it was unlawful and they said ‘I don’t care, get on a plane.’ It’s against the law for me to abandon my children. I can no sooner walk out on my children than I can rob a bank just because the Army told me to.”